- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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After former three-division champion Miguel Cotto’s third-round wipeout of Delvin Rodriguez on Saturday night at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., Cotto expressed interest in challenging middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.
Cotto’s new trainer, Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, also said it’s a fight he wants for Cotto, who would like to become the first Puerto Rican fighter to win world titles in four weight classes.
That would be a major accomplishment, and a Martinez-Cotto fight would be a major pay-per-view event. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum expressed interest in staging the fight, if they can make a deal, on Puerto Rican Parade weekend in New York in early June -- a date on which Cotto has fought regularly. Arum said he would like to put on the fight at MetLife Stadium, the New York Giants' and Jets' home in East Rutherford, N.J., a few miles outside New York City.
So Team Cotto likes the fight, but what about Martinez and his handlers? Count him in, adviser Sampson Lewkowicz told ESPN.com on Monday. He said Martinez definitely wants the fight.
“I won’t negotiate the fight through the press, that’s not good,” he said. “So the only thing is that Sergio will accept the fight because he wants to fight the best and Miguel Cotto is one of the best. There is no question about it, and it would be a competitive fight. We’d love it. We have a Plan B, but Plan A is definitely Cotto.”
The timing of having the fight in June works well for Martinez, Lewkowicz said. Martinez is recovering from knee surgery and is expected to be able to fight by April, but he would happily wait until June, Lewkowicz said.
The reason, Lewkowicz said, is Martinez has a “personal vendetta” against Cotto.
“He feels in the past that he didn’t gain the respect of Cotto, and he never forgot one of his actions a few years ago,” Lewkowicz said.
According to Lewkowicz, Cotto and Martinez were both at an ESPN studio in Mexico at the same time two or three years ago, and Martinez was excited to meet Cotto. But when they were together, Lewkowicz said, “Cotto walked away from him. He didn’t even shake his hand, and Sergio felt insulted. So he wants to fight him. I believe it would be a great fight.”
If the sides want the fight, Lewkowicz said, “We can do this negotiation in one hour over a coffee. We don’t need a lunch to make this fight if everybody does it right.”
As for the weight, Lewkowicz said Martinez would be willing to come down to fight Cotto at a catchweight as low as 158 pounds.
“Freddie Roach, who I respect a lot, said [after the Rodriguez fight] that he wanted it to be a full 160 pounds, so the weight will not be an issue,” Lewkowicz said. “I believe Roach is right in that it should be 160, but if it’s 159 or 158 we have no problem with that, either.”
Lewkowicz said that Martinez would also be happy to have the fight in New York, where Cotto is a massive fan favorite because of the large Puerto Rican population.
“Definitely, yes, in New York City,” Lewkowicz said. “He would love it to be there. Martinez loves New York. I love New York, my grandchild lives there. We are ready. [Martinez promoter] Lou DiBella and me, we are waiting for the call.”
After former three-division champion Miguel Cotto’s third-round wipeout of Delvin Rodriguez on Saturday night at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.